WASHINGTON (CBS4) - Colorado's congressional delegation is responding to Attorney General Jeff Sessions's contacts with Russia ahead of the 2016 election.
On Thursday, Sessions announced that he will recuse himself from investigations involving the Trump campaign and potential contacts with Russia, saying he felt he should not investigate a campaign that he had a role in.
This after it was learned that Sessions had contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, of which he didn't admit in confirmation questioning.
Sessions defended his answers Thursday, saying that "the idea that I was part of a 'continuing exchange of information'" between the Trump campaign and the Russian government is "totally false."
"He left himself open to this kind of question and that's why I believe his coming forward, providing clarity to it, was important," said Sen. Cory Gardner, who said Sessions needs to step aside from investigations into the Trump campaign that he helped win to build confidence in the judicial system.
The following are other comments from Colorado leaders in Washington:
FULL STATEMENT BY REP. MIKE COFFMAN:
"Attorney General Jeff Sessions made a grave omission by not disclosing his meetings with the Russian Ambassador last year, including to the Senate during his confirmation hearing. I think it would be more than prudent for him to recuse himself from any Russian inquiry, and I would encourage him to fully disclose any and all foreign contacts he had during the course of the campaign. The American people and their representatives in Congress must have the reassurance such inquiry is done in an appropriate and unbiased manner."
FULL STATEMENT BY REP. DIANA DeGETTE:
"Attorney General Sessions' contact with the Russian ambassador while an advisor to the Trump campaign once again proves this administration's causal relationship with transparency and the truth. If these revelations are true, he has perjured himself. In any case, given what we now know, the Attorney General should resign immediately or be removed.
This continued stream of information regarding campaign, transition, and administration officials communicating with members of the Russian government and failing to disclose it creates an air of uncertainty about the information and guidance that the President is receiving from his closest advisors. Further, such disclosures point to the possibility that our democracy is being undermined by a foreign power with the consent of the White House. It is now more clear than ever that the United Sates Congress and perhaps even a special prosecutor should investigate and bring forth a transparent reporting of the facts since the administration evidently is unwilling to do so."
FULL STATEMENT BY REP. ED PERLMUTTER:
"I'm shocked to learn Attorney General Sessions did not disclose his communications with Russian officials during the presidential campaign. With AG Sessions now at the center of this investigation, it's clear he cannot be trusted to conduct a full and fair investigation into the ties between Trump officials and Russia. Furthermore, as a lawyer and a member of the Bar Association, AG Sessions has an obligation to avoid any appearance of impropriety and this standard appears to have been breached. A special prosecutor needs to be appointed immediately in order to lead a neutral investigation and get to the bottom of this.
This certainly leads us to wonder what the President, the Attorney General and the Administration are hiding. Congressional Republicans have continued to obstruct the process to investigate ties between Russia and President Trump and his officials.
The American people deserve nothing less than an independent, thorough investigation because we cannot allow a foreign nation to have undue influence over our democracy."
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